It was a night of firsts at Bracknell Forest Council on Wednesday (May 24) as it met following earthquake local elections earlier this month.

Councillors elected their first ever Asian woman mayor, their first woman leader and their first woman deputy leader in its 50-year existence. And it is the first Labour-run administration at the council since 1997.

After being elected mayor, Naheed Ejaz, Labour councillor for Great Hollands ward, read a passage from the first chapter of the Quran, which she said was called “the opener – the key.”

“That’s what we are doing today,” she added. “We are opening a new chapter in Bracknell Forest Council’s history.

“You will witness history being made in this chamber. It is with great honour and absolute pleasure that I take upon myself the service and duty of being your first Pakistani Muslim mayor.”

She added: “This is not the only great moment of tonight. It gets even better. Mary Temperton is the first female leader of this council in its 50 year history. In another first, Kathryn Neil is the first female deputy leader of this council.

“Smashing the glass ceilings, we will leave a legacy for all those girls and women who want to reach for the skies and walk on the galaxies.”

After being formally elected as council leader, Mary Temperton, Labour councillor for Great Hollands ward, said she wanted to “take the council to the residents, with market stalls and open days, so residents know all that the council does and how it can support and help them.”

The meeting also heard from the leaders of the other political groups on the council. The speech from Green Party group co-leader Adrian Haffegee was also full of firsts. “The Green group is something new we have in this council,” he said. “We’re the first ones here.”

READ MORE: Who's on Bracknell Forest Council's new leadership?

Indicating the other Green councillor, Sheila Collings, he said “We’re co-leaders. I believe this is the first time we’ve had co-leaders on Bracknell Forest Council.”

Liberal Democrat group leader Mike Forster called on councillors of all parties to work together. He said: “The 4 May was a seismic change at this council and we all competed against each other. It’s now time to put those differences behind us. Campaigning is done.”

And the Conservative group’s new leader, Gareth Barnard, said his party accepted “The verdict of the electors on 4 May that put us into opposition.”

He congratulated the Labour group and promised to hold the council to account. “The Conservative group on Bracknell Forest Council is up for this,” he said.

“For many years I’ve had the honour and privilege of being the executive member for children, young people and learning, and I had to answer questions.

“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity, and so my colleagues are, of asking them.”